The Renaissance period in Europe, from the 14th to the 17th century, was a bridge between the Middle Ages and modern times. The word "Renaissance" means "rebirth."
The ancient Greeks and Romans had made many advances in science, art, and government. During the Middle Ages, these were lost. The Renaissance was a time of "coming out of the dark." It was a renewal of education, science, art, literature, music, and a better life for people in general.
The Renaissance gave rise to a cultural movement called humanism. Humanism was a philosophy that all people should be educated in the classical arts, literature, and science. It looked for realism and human emotion in art. It also allowed people to seek comfort, riches, and beauty.
The Renaissance began in Italy because of the history of Rome and the Roman Empire. Also, Italy was very rich and wealthy families were willing to give money to support artists and thinkers. The term Renaissance Man refers to a person who is an expert and talented in many areas. For example, Leonardo da Vinci was a master painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor, architect, engineer, and writer.
City-states played a big role in the rule of Italy at the time. They were often ruled by a powerful family. Venice was famous for its glass work, and Milan was famous for its ironsmiths. Artists were initially thought of as craftsmen. They worked in workshops and belonged to a guild. Artists and architects would often compete for a job to create a piece of art.
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